Roy Chapman Andrews

A Narrative of Exploration, Adventure, and Sport in Little-Known China
1918

by Roy Chapman Andrews and Yvette Borup Andrews

Both gorals were fine old rams with perfect horns. Their hair was thick and soft, pale olive-buff tipped with brownish, and the legs on the "cannon bones" were buff-yellow like the margins of the throat patches. Their color made them practically invisible against the rocks and when I killed the second goral my only distinct impression as he dashed down the face of the precipice, was of four yellowish legs entirely separated from a body which I could hardly see.

We saw many Shans at the Nam-ting River, for not only was there a village half a mile beyond our camp, but natives were passing continually along the trail on their way to and from the Burma frontier. The village was named Nam-ka. Its chief was absent when we arrived, but the natives were cordial and agreed to hunt with us; when the head man returned, however, he was most unfriendly. He forbade the villagers from coming to our camp and arguments were of no avail.

The object of this book is to present a popular narrative of the Asiatic Zooelogical Expedition of the American Museum of Natural History to China in 1916-17. Details of a purely scientific nature have been condensed, or eliminated, and emphasis has been placed upon our experiences with the strange natives and animals of a remote and little known region in the hope that the book will be interesting to the general reader.

On October 22, we moved to the foot of the mountain and camped in the temple which we had formerly occupied. This was directly below the forests inhabited by serow, and we expected to devote our efforts exclusively toward obtaining a representative series of these animals.

Y.B.A.

The camp at Nam-ka was a supremely happy one and we left it on March 7, with much regret. Its resources seemed to be almost exhausted and the Mohammedan hunter assured us that at a village called Ma-li-ling we would find excellent shooting. We asked him the distance and he replied, "About a long bamboo joint away." It required three days to get there!

The earliest remains of primitive man probably will be found somewhere in the vast plateau of Central Asia, north of the Himalaya Mountains. From this region came the successive invasions that poured into Europe from the east, to India from the north, and to China from the west; the migration route to North America led over the Bering Strait and spread fanwise south and southeast to the farthest extremity of South America.

Gorals and serows belong to the subfamily Rupicaprinae which is an early mountain-living offshoot of the Bovidae; it also includes the chamois, takin, and the so-called Rocky Mountain goat of America. The animals are commonly referred to as "goat-antelopes" in order to express the intermediate position which they apparently hold between the goats and antelopes. They are also sometimes called the Rupicaprine antelopes from the scientific name of the chamois ( Rupicapra).

From Ma-li-pa we traveled almost due north to the Salween River. The country through which we passed was a succession of dry treeless hills, brown and barren and devoid of animal life. On the evening of the third day we reached the Salween at a ferry a few miles from the village of Changlung where the river begins its great bend to the eastward and sweeps across the border from China into Burma.

During the time the Expedition was preparing to leave New York, China was in turmoil. Yuan Shi-kai was president of the Republic, but the hope of his heart was to be emperor of China. For twenty years he had plotted for the throne; he had been emperor for one hundred miserable days; and now he was watching, impotently, his dream-castles crumble beneath his feet. Yuan was the strong man of his day, with more power, brains, and personality than any Chinese since Li-Hung Chang. He always had been a factor in his political world.

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